Jean Baudrillard was born in Reims, France on July 29th, 1929 and died March 6th 2007 in Paris, France. Being the first in his family to attend university, Baudrillard studied German at the Sorbonne. After completing his studies at the Sorbonne he taught German literature (1956-66), published essays in Les Temps Modernes, and translated german literary and philosophical works. From 1966-1968 Baudrillard both taught in the sociology department, and attended the Paris West University Nanterre La Défense where he finished his thesis in sociology: ‘Le Système des objects (1968). After the student revolts of 1968 he moved the University of Paris at Dauphine, where he retired from in 1987.
Baudrillards early work (‘’’1970-1972 The System of Objects, La Société de consommation (1970; The Consumer Society), and Pour une critique de l’économie politique du signe (1972; For a Critique of the Political Economy of the Sign)’’’ is influenced by Marxist political economy and ‘semiology’. In these writings he discusses how things have intangible value, as well as an economic value. After these writings he strived away from Marxism and developed an idea of postmodernism where consumers and online images have become hyperreal compared to physical reality.
Influence by Time
Living through World War II and being heavily influenced by the culture of his surroundings, Baudrillard believed that culture formed a personality. but as life went on he found that culture became less and less a deciding factor to what made up a persons personality. in the late 20th century while the idea of consumerism increased, people began to use objects to shape their personality as opposed to retaining their culture and background. As things became more readily available for consumers and it became increasingly easier to purchase goods He believed that consumers began to buy things frivolously because they were marketed to be meaningful, but not useful. As time went on, people continued to consume themselves in materialistic objects. In his later writings Baudrillard says that social structure has completely collapsed, leaving a translucent reality in its wake. People are left without social classes to fit into. After traveling through America while attempting to experience culture with a sociological outlook, he compared it to a desert of culture.
As Baudrillard was born in an era of
Bauldrillard's theory of hyper-reality tells us that the real and unreal are merged into one. Bauldrillard uses Disneyland as an example, Disneyland being presented to us as unreal, while the city of Los Angels and the rest of American states are reality. However, Disneyland is only presented to us as unreal, to emphasize life outside of it to be 'reality' when in fact Disneyland is reality. Hence, making Disneyland contradictory reality.